BRAIN Farts: June 2021

• Editor’s note: From now until New Year’s Day I’ll be popping up selected “Shop Talk” strips from this year’s run of Bicycle Retailer and Industry News.

Between the kinks in the supply chain and the Great Resignation
it was nearly as hard to find a burrito as a bicycle.

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11 Responses to “BRAIN Farts: June 2021”

  1. B Lester Says:

    I’m a bit ambivalent about the Great Resignation in spite of the fact that in 36 hours, I will be a participant.

    Wages need to be higher, but restaurants, mostly the mom-and-pop variety, exist on pretty slim margins to begin with. My daughter and future son-in-law live in the small town of Monroe, Wi. Arguably the best restaurant in town, a Tex-Mex place, has not re-opened since it shut down almost a year ago. Not enough warm bodies, even last summer.

    • khal spencer Says:

      We had a doctor’s appt. in Taos a few months back on a Tuesday. The town had rolled up the sidewalks on Monday and Tuesday, as we ruefully discovered. Lack of staffing.

  2. Pat O’Brien Says:

    Well, I guess people are unwilling to work 40-60 hours a week and still live in poverty with minimal or no health insurance. So, they are taking the better paying gigs. Or, they are just lazy and sit around and collect unemployment. I kinda think it’s the first one. The entitled folks I am sometimes surrounded with swear it’s the second. I should avoid those ignorant people, heh?

    • SAO' Says:

      The problem for economists and politicians is that we actually need more lazy people right now. We’ve made everything too efficient, shaved costs to bare minimum, and we’d all be better off if 10% of us just stayed home. But there’s no way to package that in a way that doesn’t make all sides gag.

      You can’t replace half of all laborers with robots and not address the idle hands problem.

      Not without counting on indefinite exponential growth, which is delusional in its own way.

      The free market is all about satisfying demand, but not the demand for being useful.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Americans are addicted to cheap shit and will step over some poor sap bleeding out from a gunshot wound to get to it. How many Dollar Generals and Sonics does one town need?

      I did the long hours with little/no/ridiculous health insurance when I quit newspapering, but it was a choice. I had learned a few things, developed some skills, and wanted to do something I was excited about, and risk was part of the price of admission. We had no kids and we were both reasonably healthy so the risk was comparatively low.

      I could’ve gone back to newspapering and gotten an OK wage and a few bennies. Herself could’ve returned to retail management and done likewise. I wonder where today’s Fryolator pilots and shelf stockers are going to turn. Capitalism is a big ol’ boat and it doesn’t change course real fast.

      • Pat O’Brien Says:

        Yea, we gotta keep those “essential” worker frying those taters and stocking those shelves.

      • psobrienPat O’Brien Says:

        We moved to Kentucky to start an archery business. Store plus indoor 3D range was the goal, starting part time until one or both of us could quit our full time gigs. We got there, and in the first month the job I had, with good benefits, was being moved to Pennsylvania. We missed Arizona and the dream fell apart. Worked for the man, but ended up with 17 years of quality retirement. A good trade in the end , and we have no regrets. And, for us, archery got replaced with cycling, and now guitars. We have a great mom and pop guitar store in Tucson, but who knows how long it will last. The pandemic slammed them hard, and the showroom has been appointment only with no stock on display, for 18 months now. With a Guitar Center in town, and lots of on-line giants taking market share, who knows? There is no free market. It’s rigged, and becoming more so every day. Whaddawant, dick missles or Chinook Book Store? We make the choices.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        It’ll make you crazy if you let it.

        I was in on the ground floor for the reinvention of VeloNews back in 1989, and the creation of Bicycle Retailer and Industry News in 1992. Didn’t have any skin in the game, just my time and IP. These were the sports-journalism equivalents of mom-and-pop shops, a real far cry from daily-newspaper chains, and it felt like I was helping to build something rather than just working somewhere.

        Then growth became an issue, and various big boys popped round to grab the wheel and aim for the ditch. And now both mags are cogs in the Greater Outside+ Vertically Integrated Cavalcade O’ Content (Members Only).

        Have they been improved by the fabled economies of scale? Is Taco Bell better than La Choza? For some people, maybe. But I wouldn’t want to work (or eat) at Taco Bell.

  3. Jon Paulos Says:

    The free market at work. Its tough on the mom-and-pop-size businesses. I will say that the ones around here I see surviving are raising their prices. Raise prices, raise wages. When the customer complains, direct them down the street to the out-of-business establishment that didn’t. My favorite burrito joint burrito costs 50% more than it did two years ago, but they’re still around and I’m still getting my monster steak burrito.

  4. Herb from Michigan Says:

    America has a labor shortage yet there are hundreds of thousands (millions?) of refugees who would jump at those vacant jobs and a dry bed. We will eventually understand that we are back where we were in the early 1900’s, desperate for new laborers and glad to have them pour in from Europe. Of course back then the immigrants didn’t avail themselves to much if any social services funded by tax dollars so Smedley couldn’t bitch about that at his Club. He could however exploit the hell out of them at his factory or workplace. I don’t know what the answer is but I do know that many Michigan farmers couldn’t get crops in and out due to the lack of Latino workers.These same farmers supported Trump so I have zero compassion for them and if they lose the family farm too bad. But they won’t…the government farm subsidies are too sweet.

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